Can technology support better pelvic health for women? Karen Stander bets on it.
Earlier this year, the VP of Physiotherapy and Women’s Health at Hinge Health – a digital platform that addresses musculoskeletal conditions – led the launch of Hinge’s female pelvis health programaddressing conditions that Stander says one in four women will experience.
The virtual program connects users with physical therapists, as well as videos, custom assignments, and goals to help them do exercises in the privacy of their home. The program is available to a select group of customers, with plans to expand the offering to all Hinge customers by early 2023.
Stander outlines how she’s working to eliminate that stigma and expand access to pelvic health therapy.
Pelvic health problems are common, but we don’t talk about them much. Why?
So many women will talk to their mothers, sisters, friends and say, “Is this normal? I pee a little when I cough,” or they experience pain when they have sex. And everyone says, “Yeah, me too.” But people don’t realize that normal is not normal.
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How can technology change that perception and that stigma?
Digital-first access reduces barriers to care, from transportation to leisure. It also fits in a world in which people no longer distrust telehealth. Plus, there just aren’t many pelvic floor therapists in the US, especially in rural areas — waiting lists to contact a provider can be months long. This, on the other hand, is almost instant access.
Launching this program was undoubtedly a heavy burden. When the work gets intense, how do you press refresh?
I’ve been practicing Hatha yoga for 15 years – that repetition of postures helps me become aware of my personal power. Being grateful for my body and my health helps me keep going in health care.